The year 2020 has seen phenomenal progress in our work to end the use of fur. Nations moved to announce an end to fur production and/or sales, citing the “immoral” nature of this trade that results in the suffering and death of millions of animals each year for nothing more than a coat or trim on a purse. More retailers moved to end fur sales this year as well, building upon our successes on this front in previous years.
The coronavirus pandemic added more urgency to ending the trade, after mink in 10 nations tested positive for the virus. The Netherlands and Denmark even recorded transmissions of the virus from mink to humans. In Denmark, concerns that a mutation in the virus that had infected the mink could possibly interfere with the effectiveness of a vaccine for humans led to mass culls of the animals.
Meanwhile, the demand for fur continued to drop globally as consumers continued to turn to alternatives, making it clearer than ever that fur is not fashionable.
Following are some of the most notable successes of 2020 in the battle against fur:
- Nordstrom, one of the largest luxury fashion retailers, announced it will stop selling products made with fur and exotic animal skins at all of its U.S. locations by the end of next year.
- Wellesley, Massachusetts, became the first city outside California to ban fur sales in the United States.
- A federal court judge threw out a challenge by the International Fur Federation to San Francisco’s ban on the sale of fur
- In the United States, the fur trade went into free fall, with the mink industry recording its worst year on record. The number of mink bred and killed for their fur in China, Finland and Canada has also declined in recent years
- In November, the world’s largest fur auction house, Kopenhagen Fur, which acts as a broker for fur pelts produced around the world, said it will close its doors for good within the next three years, following steep drops in pelt prices and stockpiles left unsold at fur auctions.
- Israel stated its intention to ban the sale of fur. If successful, this would be the first nation to end the buying and selling of this commodity. Israel’s environmental protection minister Gila Gamliel, while making the announcement, said, “utilizing the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral.”
- France announced an end to mink fur farming, with the last four farms having to close no later than 2025.
- The Netherlands, where mink first tested positive for coronavirus, moved up its deadline to end mink fur farming from 2024 to the end of this year. As of today, all cages stand empty.
- Humane Society International released an undercover investigation of Asian fur farms in partnership with the Daily Mirror newspaper, which supports a fur free Britain.
- HSI worked with the former head of the British fur trade to support a fur-free Britain. A poll commissioned by HSI showed 93% of the British population rejects wearing real animal fur, and a majority (72%) supports a complete ban on the sale of fur in the United Kingdom.
Earlier this year, the Humane Society family of organizations released a policy plan to avoid another pandemic; we are calling on apparel companies, governments and other entities to eliminate both the fur farm industry and the demand for fur. Animals like foxes, raccoon dogs and mink who are bred and killed for fur are common transmitters of zoonotic diseases and the sooner we end this industry the safer we will all be.
Fur is also a completely unnecessary product and with so many plush and fashionable manmade alternatives now easily available, there is absolutely no need to subject animals to such immense suffering in the name of fashion. In 2021, our work to end the cruelty of fur will continue full-steam and we will not rest until this industry has been wiped out for good.